No, cannabidiol (CBD) is not a miracle, but like insulin, it can seem so if your body and endocannabinoid system lack it.
If you are a natural skeptic like me, as soon as you see something claiming itself as the be all to everything, red flags pop up and you want to call out B**l S**t. With blog posts every day claiming cannabidiol (CBD) a miracle you might be beginning to think along the same lines, that is until you understand what your endocannabinoid system is and how it works.
I first started researching about CBD several years ago as I saw more articles popping up about it as a natural anti-seizure treatment not only for humans but also for animals. Having lived with an old dog which suffered from seizures, which is a horrible and heart retching experience, I wanted to learn more about CBD and since then I have as of yet been unable to exit the rabbit hole.
Along my journey of researching and understanding about CBD something interesting happened. At first, I was completely convinced of its power to help as an anti-seizure treatment and at this point in time, it is impossible to say that it doesn’t work for this ailment. However, as time went on I kept seeing more and more claims about how CBD can help with anything from migraines, fibromyalgia, Parkinson’s, diabetes, anxiety, depression, and even skin conditions to name just a few.
Boom, red flags going off and alarm bells ringing. It was not that I no longer believed CBD could be extremely beneficial for some additional conditions other than epilepsy, like Parkinson’s for example, which made sense to me since it also has to do with muscle spasms, it was that I was calling bull on all of these other claims and was afraid they were going to marginalize the true benefits of CBD by claiming to be the new cure all snake oil. I mean, come on, from women’s menstrual cramps to psoriasis? The next thing they will say is it can even cure cancer. Sure enough, I start seeing claims every other day with people claiming CBD cured their cancer.
Digging into CBD further.
The problem was that on my insatiable pursuit to not only understand more about CBD and its true benefits but to also call BS on the ones that couldn’t possibly be true, I kept getting shut down by mounting evidence and claims by people that cannabidiol was actually helping them with these additional afflictions.
I pondered over this non-stop because I had by this point become an advocate for CBD and never wanted to tout any false ideas about it. With the mounting list of benefits and research supporting these claims, I started to think about cannabidiol from a different perspective. Maybe CBD wasn’t curing all of these conditions but maybe the lack of it was actually the problem.
Wow, I thought I had just made a new scientific discovery in the likes of James Lind, credited for curing scurvy with citrus fruit centuries before anyone even knew about vitamin C. Already planning my Wikipedia page, I dove even farther into the subject only to find out I was a decade too late. Dr. Ethan Russo had not only already published this theory as a white paper back in 2004 but even came up with a name for it, Clinical Endocannabinoid Deficiency (CECD). The original paper was published in the Neuroendocrinology Letters medical journal.
The endocannabinoid system (ECS) acts as a buffer for your body from outside stimuli.
Well, there went my Wikipedia page, although I still give myself a bit of credit for connecting the dots before I read a single thing about this theory. Without going in depth here about the endocannabinoid system (ECS), which is not only part of the human body but that of all vertebrate animals, one of the important things to know about it is that a principal role in its function is as pro-homeostatic, or helping to achieve homeostasis, a state of equilibrium, as in an organisms or cells, maintained by self-regulating processes. Fancy jargon for basically saying your endocannabinoid system (ECS) helps bring balance to your body. Your ECS also acts as a buffer to changing external stimuli or environments.
Not only does your ECS help your body buffer against physical stimuli like chemicals, but it also helps regulate and guard against perceived stimuli like fear, anxiety, and stress. This helps explain why CBD can not only help with ailments like skin conditions and inflammation, but also depression and anxiety. You can read more about this in the research paper published in 2015 by Nature Reviews Neuroscience which details how your endocannabinoid system guards against fear, anxiety, and stress.
Your body’s natural CBD.
Your body naturally produces endocannabinoids, principally anandamide and 2-AG, and CBD functions as a supplement for your endocannabinoid system (ECS). Clinical Endocannabinoid Deficiency (CECD), sometimes also referred to as only (ECD), could explain why CBD seems to be effective in treating so many different conditions. If your ECS is not properly fueled than your body is going to be out of balance and not function properly. Just like if your body doesn’t have enough vitamin C or can’t produce enough insulin you are going to have major health issues including the possibility of death.
Insulin as a medicine is not a miracle, a person’s body not producing sufficient insulin is a problem, as in the case with someone suffering from type I diabetes, although, for somebody with this condition, insulin seems like a miracle. CBD is also not a miracle and should stop being marketed as such. The proper functioning of your body’s endocannabinoid system is critical to one’s health and the focus should be on this and on how CBD can help this system function properly. If people don’t understand how CBD works by supplementing their natural endocannabinoid system and it continues to be marketed as a cure to all ailments then people could think it is all hype and shy away from trying to see if it could benefit them.
Written by, David Allred
Dr. Ethan Russo continues his research on CECD and you can read his further findings in his 2016 published paper in the Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research journal.